Ullrich's doping suspension over, now free to race

Jan Ullrich can race again. The German's two-year doping ban expired yesterday, but he does not plan to return to the professional sport in any capacity.

In February of this year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued a back-dated two-year suspension, and also annulled all his results from May 2005 until his retirement in February 2007 are annulled, including his third-place overall finish in the 2005 Tour de France.

Ullrich's confession of his doping past has come out only in bits and pieces. After his suspension was announced, he apologized only for his “contact with Fuentes”. Earlier this summer he admitted for the first time that this contact with Fuentes involved blood doping. He refused to address the issue of every having used other doping methods of products.

The French Senate report issued the end of July named him as having tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. Unlike his former teammate Erik Zabel, Ullrich has declined to comment on that or to co-operate with the German National Anti-Doping Agency. “As it now stands, he has declined to speak with us,” NADA spokeswoman Eva Bunthoff told the SID news agency, despite earlier media reports that meetings were planned.

He also faces further legal problems. A possible perjury suit has already been announced, concerning his 2008 sworn statement that he did not dope or use any illegal methods the first three months of 2003 whilst under contract to Team Coast.

German broadcaster ARD is also said to be considering a suit to recover fees it paid him earlier. However, his spokesman Falk Nier told the SID that he has not yet heard anything.

Ullrich is expected to continue participating in hobby races. “He will keep on staying fit and taking part where he wants to,” Nier said. A return in any form to professional cycling “doesn't interest him.”

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